Categories
Christian Blog spiritual warfare

Just Beyond the Gate

I heard them the moment I opened the back door at 3 am. Our geriatric schnauzer scurried to his favorite spot for a potty break, but I hesitated.

It was a whole pack of coyotes, yipping and howling, seemingly just on the other side of our six foot privacy fence. Using an exposed board as a step, I peeked over–into the pre dawn mist. Nothing.

Cooper, our little dog, paid his wild cousins no mind. Yet their eerie cries were unsettling. The only thing between us and them was a few hundred yards of open ground and a wooden fence. “Hurry up, buddy!”

Safely back inside, I remembered this cool product I found online called the Coyote Roller.

It’s a long piece of pipe that rolls under the paws of athletic interlopers. Thus, any frisky varmints who try to clear the fence are quickly returned to the ground.

Back in a warm bed, listening to a now snoring schnauzer, I pondered: “Is there a spiritual equivalent to the Coyote Roller?”

I found one a few hours later, over breakfast, sans coyotes. Revelation chapter 12 tells about a war in heaven. Michael and his angels fight against the dragon, satan and his angels, and prevail. Consequently, the devil and his buddies have to relocate. A voice comes over the loud speaker: “The accuser of our brothers has been hurled down.” Verse 11 reveals the power behind it:

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

Revelation 12:11 (NIV)

Kind reader, the blood of Christ, the truths he taught, and our own resolve to hold onto faith, are more than enough to keep any “coyotes” out of the back yard. As a former pastor of mine liked to say, “If you’re willing to stand forever, you won’t have to stand for long.”

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️


The first photo is by my friend, Gary Fultz. Check out his excellent nature shots here.

Categories
Christian Blog thankfulness

Thankful for Thorns

There was once a godly woman who lived in my little town. She was twice widowed and confined to a wheelchair, yet had the sweetest Christian spirit.

Most days, Mrs. Frieda never ventured outside her home, but friends lined up to see her or called her on the phone. People flocked to this dear sister because she had the “Peace that passes all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7).

Most of us can probably think of a fellow believer who stayed grateful to God despite challenging circumstances. There’s something extra special about the unshakeable faith of God’s holiest servants.

So what’s the secret?

I never asked Mrs. Freida, but she surely would have pointed me to biblical passages such as Colossians 3:1-3, about the life that is “hidden with Christ in God,” or Psalm 91:1 where David rested in the “shadow of the Almighty.”

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.

Jesus- John 15:4 (NIV)

If other followers of Christ kept faith in God–no matter what–then you and I can too! We have the same resources available to us as the Apostle Paul, who thanked God for his “thorn in the flesh.”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Paul- 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Kind reader, any experience which draws us closer to God is a good thing. By His grace may we say in our frailty, “Lord, thank you for this thorn!”

🙏❤️

Portions of this post first appeared as This Thorn, on February 17, 2021.

Categories
Christian Blog thankfulness

Too Many Coats

When the weather starts to turn cold it happens –the students at my elementary school start losing their coats and hoodies. Most of the time it’s innocent enough; kids get too hot on the playground, or in the gym, and the coats come off. Sometimes they remember to pick them up. Sometimes they don’t.

The photo above is the result of 90 minutes of work by yours truly. There are about 120 winter garments on the rack, plus a large trash bag full.

Not all of these articles of clothing come from discount stores. I found two “The North Face” jackets and one “Columbia,” plus several name brand hoodies. Some of these retail for over $100 new.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts to return them, we end up with a couple of hundred coats at the end of the school year.

2021 unclaimed coats donated to charity.

I’m not saying our kids are unthankful. Unthoughtful is more like it. They have plenty of clothes, so they don’t miss a coat or two, or even three.

The longer I hung up left behind coats and hoodies, the more irritated I became. I thought of my blogger friend Matt, from jesusluvsall, who helps refugees–many from war-torn countries. Surely more of them would be grateful for a good coat. I was tempted to push the whole rack into my van and drive to Nebraska

Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank Him because you believe in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIRV)

Kind reader, I’m not unthankful for what I have. Unthoughtful is more like it. I seldom consider the fact that I have seven coats, while my Ukrainian neighbor is grateful for just one.

Thoughtful thankfulness; that’s a good description of gratitude.

🙏❤️